As printed in our November 2014 issue...
A RECORD 11 MONTHS OF $23-PLUS per hundredweight All-Milk prices should be complete once November's final numbers have been calculated. Prices ranged from $23.20 to $25.30 per cwt. during that span.
2015 COULD BE A DIFFERENT STORY as National Milk's Peter Vitaliano predicted that January's $19.90 All-Milk price might net next year's high price. It could trail off to $17.90 by midsummer and crawl back to $19.
UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE 2015 PREDICTIONS might be too high for milk. "There is more downside risk on 2015 milk prices compared to 2015 feed costs," stated the National Milk Producers Federation's economist.
A NUMBER OF MARKET SIGNALS support the bearish milk price outlook. From January to June, U.S. milk was up 1 percent; July to September, 3.6 percent. Commercial use: early year, up 2 percent; later, 1 percent. Exports: early year, up 13 percent; later, down 10 percent.
BUTTER FELL 38 PERCENT to $1.89 per pound during a 35-day trading window ending at press time. U.S. butter had outpaced world prices for some time as only 9 percent of America's production has been exported.
NONFAT DRY MILK AND DRY WHEY have sold closer to world market prices as the U.S. exported 56 and 61 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, January-to-September Class III futures averaged $17.34.
THE SIGN-UP DEADLINE for the farm bill's Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) has been extended to December 5, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced in late October. For more, turn to page 719.
AT 3.07, OCTOBER'S MILK-FEED RATIO notched its best level since October 2007 with $17.05 income over feed cost. Values used were $3.28 corn and $9.64 soybeans (bushel), $194 alfalfa (ton) and $25.30 milk (cwt.).
DAIRY REPLACEMENTS FETCHED $2,120 EACH, reported USDA. That price was $100 over the peak of the previous 2007 boom. Colorado's $2,260 and Wisconsin's $2,220 led the pack. Ohio was low at $1,950.
CULLING REMAINED 11 PERCENT OFF of last year's pace with 253,000 fewer dairy cows sent to packing plants through September. Prices averaged $117 per cwt. Good-quality bull calves have netted up to $5 per pound in Wisconsin as cattle production continued its eight-year slide.
A BADGER-STATE JUDGE ORDERED a northeast Wisconsin dairy to install no fewer than six groundwater monitoring wells to evaluate water quality and capped the farm's cow numbers. See related story on page 720.
BRIEFLY: A whistle-blower program with a $5,000 cash reward for information on acts of animal cruelty was established by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Bongards' Creameries, Cortland Bulk Milk, Mount Joy and Oneida-Madison co-ops joined the National Milk Producers Federation, raising farm membership to 32,000.